Under the supervision of Ms. Moneypenny, James Bond and John Lee have to get over their grudges against one another and work to stop the mysterious ORU before they can develop a disastrous weapon!
After last month’s action-packed issue, this month is still exciting, but much more focused on classic spycraft and intrigue. We get a much closer look at ORU’s plans this month, thanks to an unsettling simulation of a terrorist attack at the issue’s opening. This helps to illuminate an enemy that has so far been somewhat inscrutable. Other than some vague “evil plans,” we haven’t known much about what ORU wants. Now we see that they mean to possibly destabilize the world’s economy, which adds an extra dimension beyond the usual “hold the world for ransom” plots that have become somewhat cliché in superspy fiction.
This issue also introduces Stephen Mooney as 007‘s new interior artist. Mooney will likely be familiar to readers through his work on DC’s Grayson and his creator-owned series for IDW, Half Past Danger. Basically, he knows what he’s doing when it comes to penciling super-spy action. It shows, too. Even in a less explosive issue, Mooney’s gritty style conveys the seriousness of the situation, particularly in a brief scuffle near the issue’s close.
Not only that, but the comedic scenes play wonderfully. Bond’s displeasure at being the “man in the chair,” (quite literally at one point) rather than the one mixing it up with the ladies, is quite evident…as is his sincere joy when he finally gets some playtime.
The decision to pair Lee and Bond together as a sort of Man from U.N.C.L.E./Odd Couple-esque team is brilliant. When Bond gets a partner in the movies, they’re usually dispatched fairly quickly, usually as revenge fuel for Bond’s mission. Seeing 007 working with another agent who is just as capable as he is comes across as a refreshing change of pace. In fact, this series has come close on more than one occasion to letting Lee overshadow Bond, always pulling back just a bit to remind us that Bond didn’t luck into his Double O status.
It can occasionally feel like Bond is a supporting character in his own title in issues like this one (my only qualm, albeit a small one), but never fear. Bond’s fans still get to see the dashing spy shine in a crisis and the book still gets a great example of Korean representation in the form of John Lee.
It’s been mentioned before, but I cannot overstate what a splendid job Pak has done in reinventing and improving Oddjob, making him a legacy character with a rich history that begs for exploration. Considering the snippets of information we’ve gotten about John Lee in the last few issues and his connection to the villain of this arc, I wouldn’t be surprised if Lee got his own one-shot or spin-off miniseries following these issues. He’s certainly proving to be a deserving character.
Dynamite, you spoil me. You really do. As a lifelong James Bond fan, I feel uniquely lucky to have this series and James Bond: Origin hitting the shelves on successive weeks. This was another fantastic installment of what has quickly become my most-anticipated comic of each month.